The UK government is to explore the implementation of walk-through “contactless corridors” at airports and other entry points to the country that will enable passengers to verify their identity using biometrics rather than their passport.
The plan to use biometrics for “contactless passage through border controls” is outlined in a policy paper published by the Home Office. It also lays out new biometric-enabled app-based systems for non-UK citizens seeking permission to enter the UK prior to arrival that implement both facial and fingerprint recognition.
According to the paper, the Home Office is “already working with a group of academics to identify trends and opportunities in this space”.
The plan forms part of a broader strategy of “investment in border processes, biometrics and technology [that] will result in a border that operates with a fully digital end-to-end customer journey, improving both security and the passage of legitimate travellers through the border”.
“At the border, we will ensure the smooth flow of those legitimately coming to the UK,” the government’s policy paper adds.
“Individuals with an electronic permission will not need to show physical proof, as our Border Force Officers will be able to check using our border systems.
“Our intention is to significantly increase the use of automation, in particular ensuring that the majority of all arrivals to the main UK ports will pass through some form of contactless corridor or automated gates for identity and security checks.”
The announcement follows trials of ‘smart border’ technology based on face and iris recognition at airports and other border crossings in the UK and the UAE.